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The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
Synopses & Reviews
The vivid voices that speak from these pages are not those of historians or scholars. They are the voices of ordinary men and women who experienced — and helped to win — the most devastating war in history, in which between 50 and 60 million lives were lost.
Focusing on the citizens of four towns — Luverne, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama — The War follows more than forty people from 1941 to 1945. Woven largely from their memories, the compelling, unflinching narrative unfolds month by bloody month, with the outcome always in doubt. All the iconic events are here, from Pearl Harbor to the liberation of the concentration camps — but we also move among prisoners of war and Japanese American internees, defense workers and schoolchildren, and families who struggled simply to stay together while their men were shipped off to Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa.
Enriched by maps and hundreds of photographs, including many never published before, this is an intimate, profoundly affecting chronicle of the war that shaped our world.
"This lavishly illustrated companion to the September PBS documentary series reduces the American side of WWII to the local and personal. Documentarian Burns (The Civil War) and historian Ward (The Civil War: An Illustrated History) foreground the iconic experiences of ordinary people, including a young girl interned in a Japanese camp in the Philippines, marines in the thick of combat in the Pacific and a fighter pilot who exchanges letters with his sweetheart. Their stories are full of anxiety and exhilaration, terror and pathos. (Sample vignette: a GI casually tosses pebbles into the skull of a Japanese machine-gunner, still upright and wide-eyed after the top of his head has been shot off). The authors' portrait of the home front glows with nostalgia — war bonds, scrap-metal drives, USO dances — but they also note racial tensions at a Mobile, Ala., shipyard and the bitterness of Japanese-American soldiers whose families were interned. In the background, Roosevelt and Churchill confer, Patton struts and growls, and arrows march across maps as the authors deftly sketch major campaigns and battles and offer tart criticism of inept generals. This visually appealing coffee-table book gives little idea of how and why America won, but a strong sense of what it felt like on the way to victory. Photos. (Sept. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Masterful in mass-audience appeal, this likely best-seller, though U.S.-centric, can inspire exploration of the wider contexts of WWII's origin and course." Booklist
"Epic, lavishly illustrated accompaniment to the PBS series....Excellent — an introduction to the war for the uninitiated, and a scrapbook of sorts for those who remember it." Kirkus Reviews
"This companion book to the duo's upcoming PBS documentary is chock-full of conventional wisdom, photographs, maps, and personal anecdotes, covering the war at home, as well as in the Pacific, Europe, and North Africa. Sure to be popular." Library Journal
"Part history, part memoir, and part photo album, The War is compelling on many levels. The photographs are a mesmerizing collection of both the war the GIs saw and the changing world they left behind." Philadelphia Inquirer
"By all means, see the TV series, but this work stands on its own. It is war at a most personal level....The War is rich in often heartbreaking combat photographs and scenes from the heartland." San Antonio Express-News
"The War is at times almost too graphic in its presentation, but it serves as an excellent lesson in sacrifice, patriotism and a lost innocence that was irretrievable for millions of Americans and their progeny." BookReporter.com
"The companion book tells the stories of about 40 men and women....In each case they tell poignant personal stories, but collectively they provide a common thread of what it was like to be either on the front line or on the home front." Kansas City Star
"What, one wonders, is left to say about this war? The answer is not so much new information as new interpretation....Part history, part memoir and part photo album, The War is compelling on many levels." Houston Chronicle
The companion volume to the forthcoming PBS series, The War is the story of World War II captured in the hearts and minds, words and deeds of those who made history at its most essential level: on the battlefields and on the homefront. Enriched by maps and hundreds of photographs, including many never published before, this is an intimate, profoundly affecting chronicle of the war that shaped our world.
Enriched by maps and hundreds of photographs, the companion volume to the forthcoming PBS series, "The War" is the story of World War II captured in the hearts, minds, words, and deeds of those who made history at its most essential level: on the battlefields and on the homefront.
About the Author
Geoffrey C. Ward wrote the script for the film series The War and is the winner of five Emmys and two Writers Guild of America awards for his work for public television. He is also a historian and biographer and the author of fourteen books, including most recently Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. He won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1989 and the Francis Parkman Prize in 1990. He lives in New York City.
Ken Burns, producer and director of the film series The War, founded his own documentary company, Florentine Films, in 1976. His films include Jazz, Baseball, and The Civil War, which was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television. His work has won numerous prizes, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.
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